Thursday, September 7, 2023

The ballad of Ted Simmons

Against my better judgement, I bought a $30 blaster(!) of 2022 (23?) Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary last week, and the easy highlight of the lot was this very Ted Simmons card.

That may sound like a fit of buyer's remorse to many, but I mean it sincerely. I nearly went through the roof when Ted fell out of the pack because you can count the number of post-playing days Simmons cards I own on one hand (and I think all of those were Panini). It was a plain fun pull, much better than any other shiny bell and whistle that fell out of that blaster.

It continues one of the rare trends that I've actually liked from Topps in recent years - sneaking dudes who've been largely abandoned by the hobby back into current products. Look, I want any and all cards of legends like Hank Aaron and Ted Williams, but even I get bored seeing them as the "retired guys" in every single set - give me more Ted Simmons!

I'm happy to report that Ted is the newest in what has become a fairly long line of Dime Box Favorites who've started getting some long-overdue pub on cards these days.

For a long time, I would've used my hobby wish to get Topps to start making Dick Allen cards again.

Turns out I didn't need a card-granting genie, because "Crash" has started popping up in quite a few sets these days, and all of this cards are just as wonderful as I dreamed they'd be.

This is on my Card of the Year short list as of this writing because it combines so many awesome into a single, glorious baseball card.

First and foremost, we've seen woefully few Steve Garvey appearances in recent years - but it's also a hit for my Awards mini-collection, and provides a rare cardboard commissioner cameo!

Lately Topps has even surprised me with a few of their retired-guy selections - I was shocked to see Gene Tenace pop up in last year's Platinum checklist, and much less a Padres Gene Tenace card.

I don't know if such a list has ever been made, but this might be in the running for Most Unexpected Cards Ever.

Vida Blue has long been a favorite of mine, and I can't think of many guys who have as many consistently great cards as he does.

Every Vida Blue card I own is a treasure, and it's been nice to have even more of them now that Topps has started giving him the cardboard love he deserves.

Hometown bias speaking here, but Ron Santo doesn't have nearly as many cards out there as he should.

(And yes, I'm still mad the HOF didn't put him in Cooperstown until the year after he died.)

Normally, I don't like when guys I grew up watching show up as "old guys" in modern sets - I'm starting to feel old enough already! - but an exception to that rule is Tim Lincecum.

He's easily one of my favorite ballplayers I've watched in my lifetime and has always been something like a cult hero to me (if a "cult hero" can be someone who won two Cy Young Awards). It still hurts that his career flamed out as fast as it did, and it never felt like he got quite the amount of fandom he deserved, but it's been nice to see him sneak back into the hobby these days.

Part of the reason I want more Dick Allens, Vida Blues, etc. is that I see baseball cards as a kind of document for the history of baseball as we know it. Sure, legends like Mays and Ruth are at the top of that mountain, but other guys are down there helping to keep it standing. Guys like Ron Santo and Ted Simmons.

So kudos to you, Topps - and I'll be looking for my Mark Fidrych cards come 2024.


Johnnys Trading Spot said...

That Simmons is great!

Chris said...

The Topps Chromes are nice, but I really dig that Dick Allen Pristine!

Mike said...

Those are all really cool, but The Freak was a fave of mine too, and that's a fantastic card!

Nick Vossbrink said...

Linceum and Blue both go in the same "fantastic career starts it's a shame they couldn't keep it up" rotation. And yeah I don't like old guys in current player sets but if they're going to keep doing that I like that they're spreading things around into more fan favorites.

night owl said...

Most of those guys you showed are from my childhood -- more proof those were the best baseball days.

This year's ... er, last year's Chrome Platinum Anniversary cards are starting to freak me out. Don't stare at them too long.

Jon said...

Ron Santo appeared in pretty much all of those early 2000's players of yore sets, and I remember being in the Cooperstown sets, but don't recall seeing too many new cards of him since. And despite not always liking the designs, I do like seeing Gene Tenace in so many recent sets. It'd be really great if guys like Joe Rudi and Sal Bando would appear more often as well, but I won't be holding my breath on them.

Fuji said...

I thought it was cool to see Topps included Tenace as a Padre in last year's set. I'm hoping to eventually add his autograph from that product to my collection. As for guys like Allen, Blue, and Fidrych... I love seeing them pop up in products. But as much as I like Lincecum... I'm not ready to see him join that crop. Let him wait a few more decades... and give his spot to guys like Oliva, (Tony) Pena, Templeton, and Colbert.